Treating hand and wrist injuries and conditions

You use your hands for work and just about every activity of daily living — eating, bathing, dressing, writing, typing, drawing and more. When using your hands becomes difficult or even painful because of an injury or condition like arthritis, it's time to seek medical treatment. HonorHealth's team of orthopedic surgeons specializes in hand and wrist injuries, diseases and deformities.

Hand and wrist surgeons at HonorHealth take a conservative approach to treatment, choosing nonsurgical options whenever possible and appropriate. If it's determined that surgery is your best bet to relieve hand or wrist pain or improve mobility and function, your specialist will create a surgical treatment and recovery plan tailored to your individual needs and lifestyle.

Nonsurgical treatments

Among the nonsurgical treatment options for addressing hand and wrist injuries and conditions are:

  • Braces, splints, casts and supports.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications and injections.
  • Lifestyle modifications.
  • Physical therapy.

Surgical treatments

Whether your hand or wrist pain, numbness or tingling is related to the degenerative effects of arthritis, nerve damage, fracture, dislocation, or something else, surgery may be your best option.

Here are some of the most common orthopedic surgical procedures performed at HonorHealth to treat hand and wrist injuries and conditions: 

  • Joint surgery for arthritis: When joint inflammation caused by arthritis or injury leads to chronic pain and a decrease or complete loss of function in the hands or wrist, joint surgery may help. Orthopedic hand and wrist surgeons can replace or stabilize affected joints using plastic or metal components. The result is decreased pain, increased function and improved appearance of deformed joints. 
  • Nerve compression surgery: When nerves become compressed between the ligaments, tendons and bones in the hands and wrists, the resulting pain and swelling can be debilitating. Surgeons can surgically relieve compression on the nerve that is causing pain, numbness or tingling.
  • Hand/wrist fracture or dislocation repair: Severe fractures in the hands or wrists sometimes require surgery. Surgeons implant wires, screws or plates to stabilize and hold pieces of bone in place so they can heal properly.
  • Carpal tunnel release: Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by pain, numbness, weakness or tingling in the fingers or hand. The symptoms are caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. Carpal tunnel release is a surgical procedure to cut through the carpal ligament to create more space for the median nerve and nearby tendons.
  • Trigger finger release: Trigger finger is a term used to describe a condition in which the fingers become stuck in place when they're bent and then make a snapping sound or motion when they straighten. It's called trigger thumb when the condition occurs in the thumb. Trigger finger/thumb occurs when the tendons become inflamed. In severe cases, the fingers or thumb may become locked. Surgeons can release pressure on the compressed tendons causing the condition. 
  • Dupuytren's contracture surgery: Dupuytren's contracture is a condition in which scar tissue forms under the skin of the palm and fingers as the tissue around the tendons thickens and tightens over time. The scar tissue eventually causes the fingers to contract and pull inward. This sometimes prevents the fingers from fully straightening, which can interfere with proper hand function. Surgical repair includes removing scar tissue to the allow tendons to move properly. 
  • Wrist fusion: In cases of severe injury or deformity, wrist fusion may be the most appropriate treatment option. The procedure involves removing the wrist joint entirely and fusing together the major bone in the forearm (radius) with the small bones in the wrist (carpal bones) using a metal plate. It limits wrist movement but is effective in relieving pain.

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